Columbus Arts Festival canceled for 2020

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus Arts Festival has been canceled for 2020 due to the concerns about the coronavirus and the current recommendations from Ohio Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health.

The festival was originally scheduled for June.

Festival participants will have their fees refunded and accepted artists will be automatically juried in to the 2021 festival.

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The decision to cancel this year's festival was approved by the Greater Columbus Arts Council board of trustees.

“After closely monitoring Governor DeWine’s and Dr. Acton’s advice, we made the decision to cancel the 2020 festival and present this year’s juried artists in 2021,” said Sean Kessler, director of the Arts Festival. “The festival depends on hundreds of artists and vendors from around the country and the world to come together; coordinating all those pieces makes it very difficult to reschedule for this year. While we are heartbroken about this decision, we feel it was essential that we do our part to curb the coronavirus’ spread. We encourage the public to discover the inspiring work of this year’s artists through the online gallery.”

This is the full letter from the president and CEO of the festival, Tom Katzenmeyer, to the community:
Dear Columbus Community:
The decision we share with you today is one of the single most difficult and heartbreaking we’ve ever
had to make at the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Early this morning the Arts Council board of trustees
voted to cancel the 2020 Columbus Arts Festival, formerly scheduled for June 12-14.
As much as we desperately want to go on as planned, we recognize that we must put the health and
safety of our patrons, artists, performers, vendors and sponsors first. As we’ve watched the COVID-19
pandemic unfold, with all the uncertainty it holds for the near future, we could not in good conscience
hold a festival that would bring artists and visitors from 38 states and four countries, and more than
500,000 people within close proximity to each other on the downtown riverfront.
As with many decisions being made during the pandemic, we realize that ours adds another devastating
blow, not just to the artists who depend on the Arts Festival to make money, and the vendors we pay
to provide services, but to the people who look forward to the Arts Festival as Columbus’ welcome to
summer event each year. Sadly, it simply cannot be helped. We must put the health, safety and well being
of people first.
For the people who create the Arts Festival this is heartbreaking because producing the Festival is a
labor of love that brings us great joy each year. There is an energy on the Festival site as the tents begin
to open and the public starts to pour in that is like happiness condensed. It comes from families slowly
making their way through the site, and eating a meal together while watching a free performance. It
comes from groups of young friends taking a photo with the Scioto deer as they make their way, laughing,
to food trucks and a concert under the stars. It comes from volunteers, who come back every year, and
greet folks with a smile.
I will miss this energy. I will miss these people. I will miss being a part of this experience, and yes, I will
miss fresh lemonade shake ups. But we made this decision to ensure that we all remain healthy and able
to enjoy all these wonderful experiences at next year’s Arts Festival. And that is where I have my heart set.
We are grateful to our Presenting Sponsor the American Electric Power Foundation, Bank of America,
CoverMyMeds, Huntington, IGS and others whose financial assistance remains in place to begin to plan for
the 2021 Festival.
We are grateful to the group of outstanding artists our jury chose for the 2020 Arts Festival and have
committed to this same selection of artists next year, removing the need for them to go through another
jury process for a spot they have already earned. And we are grateful to our sponsors, community
partners and vendors whose partnership we value deeply.
We look forward to working with you all once we have moved past this global crisis and making many
happy memories together again June 11-13, 2021.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

There are now 35,408 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio; 2,148 people have died from the virus and 6,413 were hospitalized, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Breakdown of Ohio cases by county >>

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